SACRAMENTO -- Whenever the state Assembly votes on a bill, there's a good chance Jerome Horton will press neither the green "yes" nor the red "no" button on his desk. He says abstaining makes him powerful.Count me in the camp of Laird. If you lack a spine, get the fu%$#! out of the business. You aren't sent there to play games. You are sent there to represent us. If you want to get off on your power trip, go play on the freeway and test your superpowers there.
"When you vote yes or no," said the Democrat from Inglewood, "it takes you out of the negotiations, and I don't ever want to be out of the game."
When lawmakers can't get the votes they need to pass their measures, they rush to court the undecided in hopes of changing an abstention to a "yes" on another round of voting. That gives the abstainer leverage to argue for changes in the bill.
"I'm Mr. 41," said Assemblyman Horton, referring to the last vote needed to pass most bills. "I'm always in the game."
What Horton sees as clout, others see as the shirking of a lawmaker's essential duty. One of Horton's Democratic colleagues, Assemblyman John Laird of Santa Cruz, almost always picks yes or no.
"I just think I was sent up here to vote," Laird said.
And another thing, just what have you gotten us with your new found power Jerome? A whole bunch of NOTHING!!!